Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 111, Bobcats 81
- Sorry for no game thread post, blog people. I was a tad busy.
- The Hawks for the most part didn’t try to play down the significance of losing Al Horford to injury (not that they really could). But they regrouped and went out and beat down the Bobcats, who had shown some pluck against superior opponents this season.
- “We had a few lapses defensively but our energy level was high,” Larry Drew said. “That’s something we look for every game. When we play with that type of energy and get up the floor and fly around, we are a pretty good club. And tonight we were flying around.”
- The most encouraging thing for the Hawks was that they dominated the boards against a pretty good rebounding team with size. Josh Smith (13 rebounds), Zaza Pachulia (10) and Ivan Johnson (seven in 21 minutes) did their thing but the Hawks got production from unlikely guys: Vladimir Radmanovic had eight rebounds, Joe Johnson had seven, and Jeff Teague had six.
- Josh said that’s the kind of effort the Hawks need without Horford available to help him hold it down on the back line: “Defense, rebounding, help each other out, gang rebounding. Even the guards have to come in there and help out a little bit. Ivan has done a good job thus far with the toughness. I think everyone else needs to pick it up.”
- Scoring was a group effort, too. The Hawks recorded 29 assists on 42 field goals as all five starters had at least three assists. “We took care of the basketball, we executed very well and we moved the ball,” Drew said. “I thought we played overall a really solid game.”
- The Bobcats tried to push Josh around but he was beasting. He had four of Atlanta’s 20 offensive boards. Josh also made four of his nine shots from outside of the paint while going 14 for 22.
- The Bobcats sent Tyrus Thomas at Joe with predictable results. Only a 2 for 8 night from the 3-point line prevented Joe from really going off. As it was, he got to the line for eight attempts (and made seven).
- Ivan (12 points on 9 shots, six fouls) isn’t polished but he’s athletic, energetic and physical. That is going to come in handy as the Hawks try to win ugly.
- Drew hadn’t decided on the starting center an hour before the game. He settled on Zaza but didn’t commit to it long term. I’m thinking that probably means Drew will use the “big” lineup when appropriate.
- “We will just kind of look at our opponent and look at the matchup and see what works best for us,” Drew said. “I was a little concerned because [Byron] Mullens plays like more of a four. He’s a pick-and-pop guy and forced Zaza on the perimeter a lot more but I thought Zaza adapted really well.”
- Ivan Johnson played center in spots but Drew said he’s “not necessarily” the backup center. Jason Collins didn’t see the court until garbage time.
- If the Hawks really are still trying to make the playoffs, I don’t see how they can make do without another veteran center. They have two guards who don’t see regular minutes and are using an undersized rookie at center. There don’t appear to be any good trade possibilities for Atlanta, at least not until Kirk Hinrich is healthy and his expiring contract might somehow fetch an effective big.
- Rick Sund: “The center position has some decent depth to it with Al and Zaza and Twin and we really wanted to add some toughness, and that’s why Ivan Johnson has been a nice plus for us. We’ll sit down and discuss everyything. No real decision tonight.”
- Drew said Tracy McGrady is scheduled to see a back specialist tomorrow and could play Saturday against the T-Wolves. Marvin Williams (ankle) is day-to-day. “I don’t know when he will be back to play,” Drew said of Marvin. “He was in here earlier and said he’s feeling good so hopefully he will be back soon.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat